Newbie (to Carputers) in planning stages (long)
I originally planned on installing a modded xbox console in my car, and using XBMP or XBMC. This would allow me to play all sorts of music and movie files. The xbox would of also allowed me to play all the XBox games and many more with the use of the endless amount of emulators that are out for it now. With the xbox modded I could also swap the 8gb or 10gb out of it with one that is much larger. Wireless ethernet adapters are also avaialble that would allow me to update my music/movies wirelessly.
I have since decided that I wanted more, and came to the conclusion of installing a computer into my car. I think it would actually be easier to install than the Xbox (I am not one to just throw the xbox under the seat or in the trunk and say it's installed. I actually planned on ripping the xbox apart and trying to fit in my dash (seen it done with a PS2), and only having the drive slot, a few buttons, and maybe two controller ports exposed). Using a PC will allow me to do everything the Xbox gave me, might slack a bit on the gaming (unless I put a beast of a PC in, but Im not looking to play games in my car), but the rest will all out perform the XBox, with the addition of many other features.
I then stumbled upon this forum, and was quite shocked to see how much of a communtity there in this hobby. I have been reading the forum daily for some time now and I have learned a lot of information about putting a PC in a car. I am famailar with PC's, built a few, upgraded many, worked on them a lot. I installed a few car stereos, including amps, subs, replacing head units, all the speakers, ect. So I don't think I will have any issues with installing it all into my car and wiring it. I am a bit new to fiberglass but what better to start practicing on... subwoofer enclousres, amp/carputer rack, new dash bezel.
What I am more or less unsure about is all the hardware and software to use on my carputer. I came up with some questions to ask myself in hopes of helping me decide and now others to help:
What do I want from my carputer?
1. Full replacement of the headunit
2. MP3 storage, and playback
3. Movie storage, and playback (DVD, Divx, MPG, ect... no special format required)
4. GPS Navigation
5. Wireless Internet (primary use would be to update mp3s/movies wirelessly when I get home or before I leave)
Optional features from my carputer:
1. FM Tuner (sometimes the same old mp3s get boring)
Extreme Optional features of the carputer:
1. Car Monitoring (if anything useful is out for my car)
2. Engine Management (doubt anything is out for my car)
3. Data logging (logging information about my car, however I could... once again if anything is available for my car)
How will I interact with the carputer? (Input/Output)
1. 7" LCD Touchscreen monitor built into the dash bezel, for a smooth custom look
Optional I/O Equipment:
1. Wireless keyboard and/or mouse (for when installing new software, or fixing issues.. might not be able to with touchscreen alone)
2. Wireless gamepad(s) (to play some games, primarily roms with emulators: nes, snes, genesis, ect)
3. CD-ROM or DVD-ROM Drive (Only thing I see myself loosing without one is if someone was with me and brought a CD and wanted to listen to it, I wouldn't be able too, with it; more power usage (bigger psu) more space taken up, more weight)
Since the primary use of the carputer will be for MP3 playback, sound quality is of concern. I plan on using the onboard sound to start, since it's there and won't require much more work (headphone to rca adapter, I have 2 already). If I am unsatisfied with it I will look to put a good sound card in. Preferrably with some sort of PCI adapter or cable that it doesn't need to be in the traditional 90 degree relationship to the motherboard ( |_ vs = or something... space will determine this). I only need 2 channel (right/left) audio, the RCA leads will go to one amp, then from that amp to the second amp.
The GPS is probably the main reason that the XBox would not suffice. I am not looking for a handheld unit that I could remove and take with me outside of the car, so I am planning on just getting those USB GPS Mice, Location of the receiver/antenna is unknown yet, trial and error would be used to see where it would work. I would like it to be inside the car. As far as software for GPS goes, I have no clue!
Hardware for the carputer:
* If multiple items listed, the first is the primary choice, then second, third, and so on *
- Power Supply: ITPS + PW-70a Combo / OPUS 90-watt DC-DC / OPUS 150 watt DC-DC (not really sure which would be the best... or the right amount of power)
- Motherboard: VIA EPIA M10000 / MII10000 / CL10000 MINI-ITX (which of these would be better? The MII has PC Card, could stick a laptop wireless card in it, the CL has 4 USB ports in, loses 6channel audio (only need 2 channel which it has) and doesn't have the RCA/SVideo outputs, that I won't be using)
- Processor: VIA C3 - 1GHz (comes with mobo)
- RAM: ??? (Maybe 256MB Crucial PC2700 DDR333, possibly 512. Open for suggestions here!)
- Hard Drive(s): Initially use my oldest HDD, 25GB (rather see it die in the car than my other home PC)
- Monitor: Lilliput 7" 16:9 Touchscreen / Xenarc 7" 16:9 Touchscreen
- GPS Receiver/Antenna: ??? (Maybe Rayming TN-200, suggestions welcome)
- Wireless NIC adapter: ??? (Maybe Linksys Wireless-G USB Network Adapter 802.11g or a Notebook PC Card adapter if I use the MII 10000 motherboard; suggestions welcome)
Opitional Hardware for the carputer:
- PCI Soundcard (if onboard doesn't suffice): Will look into it more if I decided I want one, most likely an Audigy.
- FM Tuner: D-LINK DSB-R100 (about the only one out there I saw anything mentioned about, I'm not too concerned about having FM, but it is something I will probably do)
- Wireless Keyboard: No clue, something small, only use would be to fix problems or setup new stuff, other than that in the trunk (or glove box if it fits!)
- Wireless Mouse: Not too concerned, doesn't need to be anything special, no real use for it or is there? If so, something small
- Wireless Gamepad(s): Not too concerned, if I decide to do this I will look at them later
Please, any comments, suggestions, whatever on what I am planning on doing, and items I am thinking of using, are all welcome. I like to have things fully planned out before buying all my products and then when I get them, it is easier to install and more of what I want than what I end up getting.
Okay... Here goes again...
93 Toyota MR2... Wow. I guess it HAS to be an ITX board - even a flex ATX would be half the size of your storage area! :lol: I used to hate working on my friend's MR2 - such a small car, and I'm a big guy. Nevermind even trying to drive it. Felt like the short-shifter was in my armpit...
Before I forget, please post the link to the comparison chart if you remember where you found it. I haven't seen that one and would love to see it.
I hope I didn't make the HDD issue sound larger than it is. As long as you're not bouncing around massively, I don't see it being a problem.
Yeah, most people agree that the OBD-II connection is kind of pointless, but I have a few electrical issues with my truck, so it will come in quite handy for me. As it is, the truck is in and out of the shop for diagnostics a few times a year and it's costly. I hate paying other people to do things that I just don't have the right tools for.
I don't know how the other power supplies are, but I can speak for my own. I use the Audioforge Car Power Package w/PW120A 120W psu with the power-on unit. The power-on unit pulses the power switch line on the motherboard 4 seconds after the accessory/ignition line gets power, and shuts down 4 seconds after the accessory/ignition line stops power. I think it's great, although I wish there was a line conditioning circuit built into it. Otherwise, it seems to provide clean stable power, and it has the benefit of plugging directly into the ATX power connector on the motherboard. Most people are going to say that you should go for the OPUS unit, and it DOES provide line conditioning. I paid $100 for the PW120A and power-on unit. I believe the OPUS unit is a LOT more. Not sure exactly on the 90W version, but I am pretty sure the 150W is around $180+, so I wouldn't hold my breath on the 90W being much cheaper. (With only mb, hdd, and usb devices drawing power, 90W will be more than sufficient.) Honestly, this is where money should be spent. If I had it to do over, I'd spend double and get the OPUS 150W psu. In fact, I still may.
As for interference, I haven't brushed up on physics in a while, but I'm fairly certain that the density of the fiberglass (has to be thicker than the original steel to provide similar strength) should still be a major improvement over the steel hood. That's just going to have to be a test-and-see issue however.
And why are you putting a fiberglass hood on a 12 yr old car??? :lol: Good luck.